The last remaining apostle on the earth, John the Beloved, was among those early Christian Saints who possessed this power and authority. At his death, the Apostolic line came to an end, and the power and authority of Jesus Christ was lost from the earth. Although there were many churches which existed throughout the Dark Ages, each passing movement only brought more questions about the reality of God, the nature of salvation, and the origin of His church.
In 1820, a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith began to question which of all the Christian churches was truly the Church of Jesus Christ. Upon praying to God for the answer, Joseph had a marvelous experience whose significance has spread throughout the entire world. He wrote about the experience years later, saying:
"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
Joseph Smith was called and prepared to be a prophet of God. He received power and authority from the last men to have ever held that power here on the earth. Peter, James, and John appeared to him and ordained him with the same power and authority they had received directly from Jesus Christ. With this authority and divine guidance, Joseph Smith was baptized after the same manner of Jesus Christ--by immersion by someone possessing divine authority. As Joseph continued to baptize more people who were honestly seeking Christ, they decided to organize themselves into a church. But this was no reformation or reorganization--it was the restoration of the original Church of Jesus Christ.
The evidence which we hold today that this account is true is a special book which Joseph Smith translated by the power of God--The Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is how we gain our sure knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Church of Jesus Christ here on the earth.
I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that the words within its pages are scripture because they do not just testify of Christ--they are His words. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of this world, and I gained that knowledge from continuous study and feasting on the words of the Book of Mormon. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is Christ's church. Through prayer, careful study, and a witness through the Holy Ghost, we invite all men to come unto Christ and gain that same certainty that we possess.
To learn more about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit Mormon.org. Representatives are available to answer your questions. You can also request to meet with missionaries in your area, find a local congregation and meeting times to worship with us. To request free materials such as the Bible or the Book of Mormon, follow the links to each.